This is one of those comforting soothing kinds of chicken soup. You know the kind that are subtle, mellow, calming. The stock is just stock, it’s not ramped up with flour, alcohol, mustard etc etc. Just nourishing freshly homemade chicken stock.
The seasonings too are paired back, although not without character. I used bay, black pepper, a pinch of caraway and saffron. The meat is shredded from a poached chicken carcass, healthy and already containing a subtle fennel/celery aroma from its time in the pot – see my recipe for a perfectly poached whole chicken here. The leeks are sweated slowly with celery and onion. And that’s all.
It’s a soup made for nourishment, a cleanser that’s going to blow away the last signs of sniffles and coughs before we fully embrace spring *here’s hoping*.
You could add vermicelli, rice or chickpeas to this soup for bulk of you prefer a slightly heartier meal – all would be delicious.
This soup serves four.
You will need:
Shredded meat from 1/2 small poached chicken
1.4l fresh (homemade) chicken stock
2 leeks, finely sliced
1 white onion, diced
3 sticks of celery, diced
3 bay leaves
1 tspn freshly cracked black pepper
1 tspn freshly ground caraway seeds
Small pinch saffron threads (don’t be tempted to use too much – a little goes a long way)
Extra Virgin olive oil
A few coriander leaves, to serve, optional
1 – Start by heating a little oil on a low heat in a large frying pan. When hot add the onion, celery, bay leaves and a pinch of salt.
2 – Gently cook the onion and celery for five minutes then add the leeks and caraway. Cook gently for 30 minutes until completely soft, stirring often.
3 – Season the softened leeks and add the saffron immediately followed by your first few ladles of stock. Stir in the stock, a label full at a time, stirring well. Bring to the boil and then simmer the soup for 5-10 minutes to infuse the flavours.
4 – Shortly before serving stir in the chicken. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes til the chicken is hot and the liquid bubbles, check seasoning, then serve – coriander leaves optional but nice.